From a very early age I was told that college would be the best four years of my life, so I could not have been more excited to start my freshman year at Clemson University. I mean, all of my friends were going there and I knew that starting this next chapter meant a new sense of independence and freedom. However, I quickly realized that particular college was not the home away from home that I had romanticized it to be. So I began asking myself “what now?”
At the beginning of this current spring semester I became a freshman transfer student at the College. I quickly realized that being a incoming freshman student during the fall verses being a transfer was going to be completely different. Different is not necessarily a negative thing, but I knew that this meant my transition would not be as seamless and as guided as before.
Although the College graciously arranged new student meet-and-greets and other social events for incoming students, I did not get to experience the first week experience that had eased freshman students during the previous fall semester into the transition of starting a new college. Despite this disadvantage, I found myself being held to the same academic and social expectations as these other students, which was extremely nerve wracking. Others had the advantage of being here for a semester and therefore already had a set group of friends, a sense of direction around campus, knowledge of how online academic portals work, time to pick their classes ahead of time and opportunities that I would not be given until the following fall semester like sorority rush or the chance to interview for exclusive clubs. And although I have met some other lovely transfer students that are in my same position, being the “new kid” on campus is always an obstacle to jump over.
In my opinion, the best way to combat these disadvantages and differences is to get get involved immediately. With the benefit of a small, intimate campus it is easy to communicate and connect with other students, organizations and staff members. There is no doubt that the transition for all transfer students is a little awkward at first, but the best way to combat that is to embrace the challenge. I have found that people in my residence hall, classes and organizations that I have joined makes the adjustment into the inevitable academic and social challenges make the world of a difference over the first few weeks of the semester.